King County announced Tuesday an investment in electric buses that will give Metro the largest fleet in the nation. Rod Dembowski, Chair of the Transportation, Economy, and Environment Committee, first asked Metro to explore going fully carbon free in April 2016 when the King County Council passed a motion requesting it.
A statement from King County to The Seattle Lesbian Tuesday said, “It looks like we could now meet that goal in 2020.”
King County told The Seattle Lesbian that “every electric bus keeps 65 tons of CO2 out of the atmosphere every year…This is a move driven by the need to protect our air and climate, and to inspire other large transit organizations across the country to do the same. We hope this investment will encourage the industry to keep improving their technology.”
“King County Metro Transit is second to none in innovation. From wheelchair lifts in the 1970s to hybrid buses in the early 1990s, Metro has been an early adopter of groundbreaking transit technology,” said Dembowski.
Roughly 70-percent of the existing fleet is hybrid electric – these new buses are fully electric. They require about a five-minute charge and can then drive 25 miles and beyond.
“In April, I authored legislation asking Metro to study the feasibility of achieving a zero emissions or carbon-neutral bus fleet, and today’s historic announcement means King County Metro is on its way to achieving this first-in-the-nation status,” Dembowski said. “I thank my colleague Jeanne Kohl-Welles who co-sponsored the legislation, and our outside panel of experts who have provided excellent advice as we move forward with greening our transit fleet. I am excited to further implement this cutting edge technology to reduce the health impacts that result from burning diesel fuel.”
More than 100 buses have been slated for addition by 2020. The first 20 buses go into service between 2017 and 2019.